Moacir dos Anjos - Contradictory

Open Lecture

Moacir dos Anjos curated the recent edition of ‘Panorama da Arte Brasileira’ ( Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, 2007) and, with Paulo Sérgio Duarte, has selected works for this year’s Brazil-focused section of ARCO Madrid. Both exhibitions are organised according to a focus on contemporary artistic production made inside the boundaries of a national space. Implicitly they are opposed to the gradual and irrevocable dilution of differences, to the suggestion that such creations no longer express the singular features of parts of a fractured and unequal world, but only enthusiastic adherence to a world characterized by a high degree of symbolic fluidity. As provoked by the present implications of producing a discourse on Brazilian contemporary art, he will examine the contradictory character of belonging and the affirmation of identity.

“The generations of Brazilian artists that have emerged in the 1990s and 2000s bear the stamp of an ambiguous form of belonging. On the one hand, there is a strong feeling of being part of an internal lineage that is selective and stretches back through time, and which supposedly provides Brazilian visual art with its distinctive character. On the other hand, at the very moment that this feeling has established itself, an equally coherent vision of the affinity for outside influences has emerged, which, as it is extends out horizontally in time, leads these artists to associate their artistic work with that put out during the same epoch in various places by other artists of the same generation. This unsettled relation to belonging spreads out and ends up having a significant impact on those producing contemporary art in Brazil.

Through the use of memories, materials and procedures firmly rooted in their real or imagined experience of a place of presumed origin – though rarely availing themselves of direct iconographic citations – visual artists from Brazil have been bestowing new meaning on ancient ways of living and of making and inscribed them in a sphere where they were previously rejected or relegated to a subordinate status. Affirming the identity that this accent establishes has a contradictory character. It condenses and exposes the ambiguities that the pervade recent Brazilian history. This character is not a metaphor for a provisional state of affairs, but a symbolic locution integral to the very conditions of life in contemporary Brazil, in which there appears to be no change in sight in the near future. "

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